Former Warehouse "Leitch House" Including Interiors | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Former Warehouse "Leitch House" Including Interiors

Item details

Name of item: Former Warehouse "Leitch House" Including Interiors
Other name/s: Merchant Pacific House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8734465973955 Long: 151.205004249553
Primary address: 127 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
127 York StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Merchant Pacific House is of significance as a late Federation warehouse building of high technical and architectural quality. It has historic and environmental significance as one of a fine group of Federation warehouse structures located on the western side of the central business district. It is part of a cohesive streetscape of the early twentieth century buildings terminating in a vista to the Town Hall. The interesting facade utilises contrasting dark brick and sandstone detailing with a central projecting bay. The modern treatment of the ground floor facade with marble cladding is incompatible with its original character.
Date significance updated: 30 Jan 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Spain, Cosh & Minett
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1915-1915
Physical description: 127 York Street is an eight storey building in the mature Federation warehouse style, with characteristic face brick facade, grouped timber windows, and sandstone sills, lintels and decoration. It has a steel framed structure with loadbearing external brick walls, timber floors and a mostly flat roof. The plan arrangement on upper floors is little altered from the original 1915 plan, with a central stair around a passenger lift (originally open, now enclosed), a rear goods lift and an external steel fire escape on the rear wall to the laneway. Several original finishes also survive, including extensive pressed metal ceilings and tessellated tiled floors in lavatories. The ground floor and shopfronts are of modern design, with marble cladding. Category:Individual Building. Style:Federation Warehouse. Storeys:7 + basement. Facade:Face brick & sandstone, timber frame windows, marble & alumin. shopfont. Side/Rear Walls:Face brick. Internal Walls:Plastered masonry (?terracotta lumber), Plasterbd & stud,. Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane, corrugated steel sheeting (lift motor room). Internal Structure:Conc. encased steel frame. Floor:Timber joists & boards. Roof:Timber framing. Ceilings:Pressed metal, susp. acoustic tiles, susp. plasterbd.. Stairs:Timber, with timber handrail. Original stair renewed from level 2 down. Fire Stairs:Concrete from level 2 down only; steel stair on rear wall disused.. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:1 passenger, 1 goods, both possibly original.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The building is generally in sound, although run-down condition. Surviving original fabric includes pressed metal ceilings, cubicle partitions and floors in some lavatories, and general floor configuration. Intrusive Elements:Window mounted air conditioning.
Date condition updated:30 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1915
Further information: High Significance:Original stone and brick facade, timber windows, steel framing, and interior details such as pressed metal ceilings and lavatory floors and partitions. Plan configuration including relationship to rear lane. Low Significance:Basement and ground floor shopfronts and configuration. Fibro lift enclosure.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: Retail ; Commercial offices
Former use: Warehouse


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City )

Prior to 1912, the former building at 127 York Street appears to have been occupied by (among others) McArthur & Co warehousemen and Lasseter & Co Ltd wholesale stores. In 1912, this building was recorded by Council as having been demolished, and the following year a three storey brick and slate warehouse, owned by Leitch & Co, appeared in its place. Only two years later, another new building for H O Leitch, this time in brick and stone and eight storeys high, had been erected on the site to the design of architects Spain, Cosh and Minnett. The roof was recorded as malthoid and Neuchatel (tile); however, this may have been evidence of intention rather than fact as only three years later the building was noted as having a malthoid and iron roof. The building remained known as Leitch House for several years afterwards.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Merchant Pacific House is a physical record of the planning and design of early twentieth century commercial buildings. It is associated with the well-known architectural firm Spain, Cosh and Minnett who designed several buildings in Sydney in this style. Has historic significance locally.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building provides great potential for research into the workings of early twentieth century commercial buildings and their relationships with the streets. Has aesthetic significance locally. Cultural:It is a fine and relatively intact example of the mature Federation warehouse style, containing many original details.
SHR Criteria f)
It is a fine and relatively intact example of the mature Federation warehouse style, which unlike most buildings of its period has survived with its original plan layout.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

General: 127 York Street should be conserved largely in its existing form and scale, with no vertical additions that would compromise the appearance of the building when viewed from York Street. It would be preferable for the building to retain its present size, however, the addition of a penthouse floor could be contemplated. Other uses for the building could be considered provided that these do not require the removal of significant fabric or alteration of its plan configuration. Features of high significance should be conserved, and other fabric dealt with so that the form and appearance of the building are conserved. Surfaces never intended for painting should remain unpainted, while surfaces such as timber and stucco which were originally painted should continue to be painted in appropriate colours. Exterior: The facade including stonework, face brickwork and timber windows should be conserved. Future works to the shopfronts and foyers should attempt to recover an appearance at ground level more sympathetic to the remainder of the building, so as to echo and interpret the original configuration. Interior: The interiors could be subject to further alteration in the future (including resubdivision) to assist the continuing use of the place, provided that surviving significant fabric (notably configuration, ceilings and lavatories) is preserved. The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the fa├žade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I1995*14 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Council rate books
Written  Council DA and BA records
Written  Council archives
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenTrevor Howells & Mark O'Donnell1995Survey of warehouses and woolstores within the city of Sydney

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2424067

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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